Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Going Green on the 4th

fireworksA lot of people feel an urge to barbeque around this time, especially on the 4th of July. Hot food, warm night air, sitting on the grass watching colorful things go boom. It’s a pretty sweet vibe. But it’s also a scene that can be made more eco-friendly in a few small ways, ones that won’t make a dent in the fun.

  • If you’re using a propane grill to barbeque, try not to warm it up too long, or you’ll end up wasting propane, then try and keep the lid closed as much as possible.
  • In any grilling situation, try to put as much food on the grill as possible, to minimize grilling time.
  • Try not to use lighter fluid to fire up your charcoal grill. Instead, use a chimney starter or even a few crumpled pieces of newspaper, placing them in the middle of the grate and building the coals up around them.
  • Try to use charcoal without any coal in it. While charcoal is carbon-neutral, there’s a higher carbon impact when it comes to the making of charcoal with coal.
  •  Grill chicken instead of red meat. The overall environmental impact of producing chicken is much smaller than red meat, highlighted by the amount of water that goes into the making of them, with an estimated 2,000 gallons or more of water going into producing the typical amount of red meat consumed at a barbeque.

And as for the explosive part of Independence Day celebrations, the bummer about fireworks is that they aren’t the best things for the environment, as one might imagine. Being green when it comes to fireworks is a lot like being green in other ways that involve joining in on a more communal method. In this case, you might consider attending a citywide fireworks show instead of igniting your own. An option for Seattleites is to head over to Gasworks park, the site of an all-day 4th of July event, and catch the fireworks show that starts at 10:15. Or, you know, you could just have fun without any typical 4th of July tropes included. Everyone likes a party that’s original.

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